New Delhi: In a noteworthy step, the Indian government on Monday declared that all persons above 18 years of age will be eligible to get vaccine doses against COVID-19 from May 1.
While declaring a 'liberalised and accelerated Phase 3 strategy of COVID-19 vaccination from May 1', the Centre said that the pricing, its obtaining, eligibility and administration of vaccines being will be made flexible in Phase 3 of the globe’s biggest vaccination drive.
The government in its order said that states and Union Territories have been authorised to obtain additional COVID vaccine doses directly from the manufacturers, as well as open up inoculation to any category of people above the age of 18 for the same.
The Centre's vaccination drive which has previously started will continue as before, providing free vaccines for essential and priority populations as defined earlier that is healthcare workers, frontline workers and people above 45 years of age.
The decision to vaccinate all above 18 years of age was taken after Prime Minister Narendra Modi charged meetings with leading doctors and top pharma companies on the prevailing COVID-19 situation.
HERE ARE KEY HIGHLIGHTS ON THE SAME
· Vaccination shall continue as before in vaccination centres, provided free of cost to the eligible population as defined earlier that is Front Line Workers (FLWs), Health Care Workers (HCWs) and all persons above 45 years of age.
· All vaccination would be part of the National Vaccination Programme and instructed to follow all protocol such as being captured on CoWIN platform and all other prescribed rules.
· Stocks and price per vaccination applicable in all centres will also have to be reported real-time.
· The division of vaccine supply 50 per cent to the Indian government and 50 per cent to other than the Indian government channel would be applicable uniformly around for all vaccines manufactured in the country. However, India will permit the imported fully ready to use vaccines to be entirely utilized in other than the Indian government channel.
· The Government if India, from its share, will assign vaccines to states/UTs based on the criteria of extent of infection (number of active COVID cases) and performance (speed of administration). Wastage of vaccine will also be considered in this criteria and will affect the criteria negatively. Based on the above criteria, state-wise quota would be decided and communicated to the states adequately in advance.
· Second dose of all existing priority groups that is HCWs, FLWs and population above 45 years, wherever it has become due, would be given priority, for which a specific and focused strategy would be communicated to all stakeholders.
· Vaccine manufacturers would provide 50 per cent of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) released doses to the government and would be free to supply the remaining 50 per cent doses to state governments and in the open market.
Manufacturers would make an advance declaration of the price for 50 per cent supply that would be available to States and in open market, before May 1. Based on this price, state governments, private hospitals, industrial establishments and others would be able to obtain vaccine from the manufacturers. Private hospitals would have to obtain their supplies of vaccine exclusively from the 50 per cent supply reserved for other than the government of India channel.